Innovative packaging and labelling company Insignia Technologies has recently moved into 1200 square feet of dedicated office and laboratory facilities in BioCity Scotland, the centre for life science businesses in Newhouse, Lanarkshire.
The new company is the result of a merger between Insigniapack Ltd which has developed a range of intelligent inks for use as sensors in food freshness labels, and Novas Technologies Ltd, a spin-out company led by experts in smart pigment technology originating in the University of Strathclyde. Combining the two companies' complementary expertise will allow Insignia Technologies to exploit the design and development of smart packaging and sensor labels initially in the food production and processing sector, but expanding into other areas.
Waste control and environmental protection lie behind much of the patented smart pigment technology, developed by leading chemist Professor Andrew Mills. With an estimated 18 million tonnes of edible food sent to landfill in the UK each year, the embedded Waste Watch food indicators change colour over time to show how long the food already opened has been kept in the fridge. The application of Insignia smart inks to indicator labels also includes a CO² indicator pigment.
Dr David McBeth, Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange Services at the University of Strathclyde, said: "Strathclyde is committed to creating companies that allow our staff and students' ideas to be commercialised for economic and societal impact. In this case our spin-out Novas planned to develop truly innovative solutions to reduce the environmental and economic impact associated with wasted food, but the Novas team could see that merging with Insigniapack provided an even stronger business with potential for greater growth. This is a really exciting deal and we look forward to seeing the smart packaging of Insignia Technologies go on the market soon."
The decision to move into BioCity Scotland was prompted by the need for an easy-to-reach commercial base with onsite business support. The availability of laboratory and office facilities on a cost-effective, flexible basis was also crucial to the new company which expects to grow to £40m annual turnover within 5 years.
Stephen Currie, Chief Operating Officer for Insignia Technologies says: "BioCity Scotland is already proving to be an excellent base for us and we are delighted with the support we have received. We have also benefitted from the support of Scottish Enterprise both in identifying Insigniapack Ltd as a potential high-growth business and in the funding of a proof-of-concept project with the University of Strathclyde. All this has made our new company formation a reality, and we have very ambitious plans for growth."
Insignia Technologies Ltd Chairman is David Kilshaw OBE, a well-known figure in the Scottish food industry and currently Vice Chair of Scottish Food and Drink. Stephen Currie will manage the day-to-day running of the company alongside Founder-Director Erik Smyth.
BioCity Scotland Managing Director Fraser Black has been working closely with Insignia Technologies to ensure their new base is the ideal environment in which to grow: "BioCity Scotland is keen to help facilitate the growth of the life sciences sector and the wide scope of companies that this contains. Insignia is a great example of the breadth of technology being applied to life sciences. To grow they will need access to the very best experts for professional advice, financing and infrastructure. That's why we are here."
BioCity Scotland launched in January this year and has now signed eight tenancy contracts, six corporate partner agreements, and hosted several high profile events including the visit of HRH the Princess Royal in February. The team continues to build a life science business ecosystem by supporting business creation and attracting high growth companies to use its state of the art equipment and facilities - such as the Automated Compound Store.